Scouting report: California
Game info: Noon Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity)
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Rich Waltz and Ernie Kent)
Radio: KJR 950 AM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton)
Coach: Mike Montgomery is 672-310 (.684) in his 31st season as a college basketball coach. He was 154-77 in eight seasons at Montana, 393-167 in 18 seasons at Stanford and 121-63 in six seasons at California. Montgomery is fourth on Cal’s all-time coaching wins list. He’s also fourth in the Pac-12 with 275 career conference victories. Montgomery is ninth on the all-time wins list for active Division I coaches. He’s a two-time national coach of the year winner and four-time recipient of the Pac-12 coach of the year award. Montgomery also spent three seasons in the NBA and compiled a 36-48 record with the Golden State Warriors.
Prediction: Picked to finish fifth in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: Cal leads 79-78 in a series that began Jan. 14, 1916. Washington 11-12 against the Bears under coach Lorenzo Romar.
Last meeting: Cal won 82-56 on Jan. 15 at Haas Pavilion. The Bears got off to a sluggish start before going on a 20-3 run midway through the first half. They led 30-17 at halftime and outscored the Huskies 52-39 in the second half. Cal dominated UW inside and won the rebounding battle 44-33. The Bears had 38 points in the paint. It was as season-low points for Washington, which shot 30.2 percent from the field. C.J. Wilcox scored 18 points, but no other UW player had more than seven.
Previous game: California won 80-76 in overtime at Washington State on Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Justin Cobbs is having a standout senior season and ranks among the best guards in the Pac-12. The 6-3, 190-pound point guard is averaging 16.3 points and 6.0 assists. He’s the Pac-12 active career assists leader with 471 in three years.
The 6-3, 190-pound senior is an all-conference pick the past two years after transferring from Minnesota where he played one season. Cobbs is a three-year starter. He’s tied for 17th on Cal’s all-time scoring list with 1,315 points. He’s also fifth on the school’s all-time assists list.
Cobbs is a below-average three-point shooter (30.0 percent), but he’s deadly at the free throw line (80.1 percent). His season scoring high is 31 points.
Against Washington last month, Cobbs finished with 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting and six assists. In last season’s only meeting, the Huskies held him to nine points on 4-for-15 shooting in 37 minutes.
Cobbs made the shot of the year in the Pac-12 when he drained a game-winning, mid-range jumper to be then-No. 1 Arizona. He’s won Pac-12 player of the week award twice this season.
— Richard Solomon is the only Pac-12 player and one of two players from a BCS conference that’s averaging a double double (11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.). He’s first in the Pac-12 in rebounding and 11th nationally. When he plays well, Cal usually plays well. Solomon, a 6-10 senior forward, has been a finesse player most of his career, but the Bears have needed him to provide a tough, inside presence. This season he’s been more consistent than ever before. Considering he’s shooting 57.1 percent from the field, you’d think his season scoring high would be more than 17 points.
Solomon was a serious problem for Washington last month while scoring 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting and collecting 12 rebounds.
— Junior David Kravish, a 6-9 forward, finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in the first meeting with Washington. He has five double doubles this season. Kravish has started the past 78 games dating back to his freshman year. He’s an inside-out threat. He shoots 50 percent on three-pointers and averages 1.7 blocks.
— Cal returns four starters, including sophomore guard Tyrone Wallace. He’s considered the glue-guy, but lately has shown an ability to put up big numbers offensively. Wallace scored a career high 21 points last week at Stanford. He also had 20 points on Jan. 29 against Arizona State. Wallace scored a team-high 14 points and collected eight rebounds versus Washington last month.
— Junior guard Ricky Kreklow missed 11 games due to a broken hand. He returned last week and was scoreless in minutes. On Wednesday he started at Washington State and had eight points in 23 minutes.
— Cal is relatively healthy again. Freshman guard Jabari Bird, a McDonald’s All-American last year, missed four games in late December and early January due to an ankle injury. He’s been mostly unspectacular as a reserve in the past eight games.
— Freshman guard Jordan Mathews replaced Bird and Kreklow in the lineup and made 12 starts. Mathews scored a career-high 32 points against then-No.17 Oregon on Jan. 9. at Matthew Knight Arena. It’s tied for the third-most points by a freshman in a Pac-12 road game in conference history. Former Cal star Shareef Abdur-Rahim (at Washington State, Jan. 25, 1996) and Arizona State’s Jahii Carson (at Washington, Feb. 2, 2013) also had 32 points in a road game. Only USC’s O.J. Mayo (37 at ASU, Mar. 1, 2008 and 34 at Cal, Jan. 3, 2008) and Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson (34 at ASU, Mar. 5, 2011) had more points as a freshman in a league road contest.
— Matthews return to the bench bolsters a reserve groups that provides little offensively. On Wednesday, Cal received 14 points total from five bench players. In the past four games, Cal’s reserves have averaged 9.6 points.
— The Golden Bears lost leading scorer and Pac-12 player of the year winner Allen Crabbe, who left school after his junior and was taken in the NBA draft.
— Injuries have forced Cal to use five lineups. The starers (below) are 2-0.
F – Richard Solomon, 6-10, 235, Sr., 11.5 ppg., 10.5 rpg., 1.2 apg., 1.3 spg., 1.3 bpg. 57.1 FG%
F - David Kravish, 6-9, 221, Jr., 11.8, 7.5, 1.7 bpg., 53.8 FG%, 78.4 FT%, 50.0 3-FG%
G – Ricky Kreklow, 6-6, 210, Jr., 6.0, 2.7, 1.8 apg.
G – Tyrone Wallace, 6-5, 190, So., 11.8, 4.4, 2.9 apg., 1.4 spg.
G – Justin Cobbs, 6-2, 190, Sr., 16.3, 2.8, 6.0 apg., 80.4 FT%